Saturday evening was a cold, damp night—but music fans opted to support hardworking friends by getting their bundled bodies to Plush despite the unseasonable weather.
Local trio Overcast Off is self-described as playing "electric folk." The opening number had singer Keith Cooper wringing out his angst, declaring, "You're the one I want to be with," in a fast-paced pop-punk chorus. The rhythm section, visibly giggling for the duration of their time onstage, provided a good platform for Cooper, and he took advantage of that near end of the set. The overly intense vocal style and the music started to mesh comfortably by their fourth song, and once the band hit their stride, it all came together nicely.
Earthmen and Strangers is a four-piece band from Tempe by way of Yuma, led by frontman Ryan Rousseau. Rousseau (who worked alongside the legendary, late Jay Reatard and who was a part of Digital Leather with former Tucsonan Shawn Foree) has the look of a man who is skillfully masking his joy while onstage. The band is able to get away with a sublime yet unlikely combination of shoegaze, garage and pop, and when the resulting beautiful noisiness crescendos and releases, it's a thing to behold in a live setting. Their musical formula taps directly into a pleasure center in my brain that has a preference for a sweet, steady buildup of guitar which slowly, and almost imperceptibly, becomes a massive wall of sound. Rousseau's voice has a crispness that befittingly contrasts with the bleeding guitars. The large Yuma contingent in the audience had good reason to follow their friends to Tucson: Not following the rules is Earthmen and Strangers' strong suit. May they always have the luxury of paving their own way.
Local band Discos showed off a lively indie-rock format. Extra touches—like duplicate percussive elements and shared vocals—seemed to have an understated additive effect. They attempted to emulate their many influences onstage, which worked best during songs that relied more on instrumentation than vocals. I look forward to seeing this band grow into its sound.